[Translator – Anwen]
The next day.
Shirone headed to the training grounds early in the morning. There were an unusual amount of students already there.
‘Everyone is thinking the same, I see.’
He was more motivated than ever to start training in preparation for the practical evaluation.
The test subjects varied per class, but the class which Shirone belonged had targeting, a.k.a the evaluation called Speed Gun.
“Ugh! I guess today I’ll practice for Speed Gun until I die. It’s the subject I’m least confident in. Target types are lucky, they’ll have the advantage.”
“Not necessarily. The Target Form works best against a small number of targets, but during the evaluation, there will be a lot of them. Wouldn’t it be better to convert to Offensive Form and explode them at random?”
“Then you’ll get tired early. Still, it’s either Offensive Form or Target Form. No one would ever use the Deviate Form. How would they catch up with all the targets?”
“There are exceptions. I mean, look at Yiruki. Won’t he use the Deviate form again?”
“Haha! No way, unless he’s an idiot. But aside from that, I’m curious about Shirone. He’s strong in actual live practice. Is he going to find a breakthrough using the Defense Form?”
Though they were not top-rankers, Shirone and Yiruki were often mentioned.
The expectation was that they would show an exceptional performance at a decisive moment.
Though, it was also not unreasonable to think that Yiruki would cause a disaster this time around.
On the other hand, Shirone wanted to cry.
Strong in live practice? As if. He hadn’t even successfully cast the Photon Output yet.
“Ugh, what do I do? I’m getting antsy.”
At that moment, the other side of the training ground suddenly grew noisy.
The girls were the first to notice the sound of a dog barking. The boys, who belatedly noticed it as well, ran towards the noise.
“What the… How did it get in?”
“Must be a dog from the mountains. But why’s it barking like that?”
As people started gathering around it, the dog started getting defensive and growled. It bore its teeth.
Then the students from Class 7 started throwing stones.
“Hey! Get out of here! You’re making our days worse!”
The upper class didn’t even try to stop them.
They thought that since the dog was hostile to people, it was no different from a wild beast.
Conversely, Shirone, who had been listening carefully to the dog’s howling, ran to the dog with a surprised expression.
“Wait a minute! Stop throwing stones!”
Mark moved quickly.
“Hey, HEY! You guys are going too far! Your upperclassman is telling you to stop.”
While the students from Class 7 stood frozen, Shirone strode towards the dog.
Mark followed behind.
“It’s dangerous. It’s a wild dog.”
“ It doesn’t matter if they grew up in the wild, dogs don’t typically bite people as an instinct. They actually rather run away than fight.”
“But it’s barking like that!”
The dog growled, but it couldn’t bear to attack, so it backed off.
Capitalizing on this, Shirone looked straight into the dog’s eyes and pushed it back into the woods.
As expected, a tiny puppy was lying in the grass.
“It hurt its leg.”
“Huh? You’re right. Guys, there’s a puppy. A puppy.”
Shirone stopped Mark.
“Don’t call them yet. If the dog feels that we might threaten the pup, it will attack. ”
“Oh, I see. Hey! Don’t come, don’t come!”
“Instead, can you find someone who can use Recovery magic? Someone from Class 5.”
He thought it would be nice if Sharelle could help, but no matter how close he was, he couldn’t call an upperclassman.
“Maria knows how to. Give me a minute, I’ll bring her.”
After her probation ended, Maria, guided by Thadd, had a much brighter personality.
“Oh my! How did it get hurt like this?”
“It looks like it was bitten because it got caught up in a territorial fight. Can you heal it?”
“Yes, I can. This small of an injury is easy.”
Maria healed the dog and the puppy with Recovery magic. The puppy, which regained its health, ran around in circles. The mother then stopped barking and took her pup back to the mountain.
“That’s amazing. How did you know there was a puppy?”
“Hm? Haha! I lived in the mountains for a long time.”
Shirone recalled when he was 11 years old. He had gone hunting with his father.
They were lucky that day. A red bear, which was known for its value as even the claws could be sold for money, was caught on a rope and was struggling. Vincent had hurriedly aimed his arrow at it, not giving it time to tear the rope.
Shirone waited behind anxiously. If they were to catch a red bear, they wouldn’t have to worry about food for the time being.
…But the arrow showed no sign of being released. Shirone turned his head in question, but Vincent had already retracted his bow and was preparing to leave.
“I couldn’t be any more unlucky. Let’s go back, Shirone.”
“Huh? Why don’t you catch it? Mom would surely love it.”
Vincent squatted down and pointed to where the bear was being held.
“Look over there, Shirone.”
Shirone looked carefully. It was a bear cub whimpering next to its captive mother.
“A hunter doesn’t catch a mother with a cub. Even though they are animals, they love their young the same way we humans do.”
“But then we’re at a loss. There’s amazing prey over there.”
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Vincent looked at Shirone with a warm gaze.
“Just as that bear has a cub, I have you too. As a parent, how can I just ignore that? Fighting to live is the same for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a human or animal. But you shouldn’t kill a parent in front of their child. It is an unwritten rule that applies to all living things.”
Shirone couldn’t express it in words, but he felt something get engraved into his heart.
Something that would never be forgotten even after a lifetime.
[Translator – Anwen]
The students were moved by Shirone’s story.
“Your dad’s amazing.”
“Yeah. No wonder Shirone is so kind.”
As Shirone’s classmates also joined in to say something, Yiruki appeared and decided to pour cold water on the warm atmosphere.
“That’s a stupid theory. Hunters don’t let go of their prey just because of that.”
Everyone turned their heads in discontent at Yiruki’s words, even the lowerclassmen.
But Yiruki kept calm.
“The reason why hunters don’t kill animals with babies present is so that the baby won’t grow up to be aggressive towards humans. In zoology, this is called the imprinting effect. Once the parents become hostile to humans, their offspring inherit their nature, and it becomes increasingly difficult to hunt them. But if you kill the young, the population would be cut off.”
Shirone choked up in tears. Of course, Yiruki was saying things without knowing anything, but his remark was an insult to his father’s sentiment.
“How can you say that? Of course, there are hunters who may think that way, but most hunters release the beast out of compassion.”
“Heart. Emotion. How they wanna package it is up to them. I’m talking about reality. Unlike you, I don’t delude people with foolish idealism.”
“What?! Are you done talking?!”
Shirone got up quickly and glared at Yiruki. This was their 2nd argument.
The student onlookers were dumbfounded. Shirone was not the type to fight anyone, while Yiruki didn’t get along with anyone. When the two collided, the tensions soared multiple folds.
“What is this? Did something happen between those two before? It seems like this is a continuation of something.”
“They’re keeping each other in check. After all, those two are definitely among the candidates to be promoted next.”
Shirone narrowed his eyes and glared. Yiruki, on the other hand, looked around and did something else. It was clear he did not want to fight.
“Hey, hey! Why are you guys like this again? No wonder it was quiet. Since a teacher is coming, let’s go back.”
Thanks to Nade interfering and tearing the two apart, it didn’t turn into a big fight, but Shirone was still displeased.
He couldn’t understand Yiruki’s way of thinking. First, his researching of a power strong enough to blow up a whole city. Secondly, belittling the lives of animals. Shirone did not like Yiruki’s perspective on things.
‘Whatever. I’ll stop confronting him from now on.’
As Ethella climbed up the mountain, The mouths of the students dropped due to her unusual appearance.
Was it because it was the practical evaluation period? She was wearing a training suit with short sleeves. She also wore shorts that revealed her thighs for easier movement.
Most shocking of all was that she was not wearing glasses.
The male students’ minds went blank at the sight of her. How could one’s appearance change so much?
“You guys all know that there is a special education starting from today onwards, right? The Speed Gun exam for Class 5 will be held first due to the practice ground circumstances. Please note that the time allocations will be divided by class starting tomorrow. In any case, today’s class will begin after we watch the assistant’s demonstration. Samuel, this way.”
A tall, handsome blond man stood in front of the students. He seemed to be in his early 20s and had long hair stretching down to his waist, which was uncommon.
“The teaching assistant standing before you is Samuel, who is preparing for his graduation from the Advanced class. His major is Incantation magic, and today he came to demonstrate some magic. It is related to strengthening your Spirit Zone as well, so pay attention.”
The students gave a big round of applause, especially the female students.
“Nice to meet you. It feels like it was just yesterday that I was in your shoes. Time sure does fly. Although I’m not too skilled, I’ll do my best in hopes that it will help with your education.”
Shirone’s eyes sparkled.
It was an opportunity to see how good the students who were competing with Amy were.
Shouts of awe burst out as Samuel opened his Spirit Zone in the Image Zone.
A Spirit Zone 42 meters in diameter was surrounding him.
“Incantation magic is used to strengthen magic through the power of words. First of all, let’s try to cast Tornado with no incantation for comparison. Tornado.”
A powerful tornado was cast in a short moment. Samuel raised both his hands lightly as if to support it.
There were students in the Intermediate Classes who knew Tornado, but Samuel’s proficiency with it was on a whole other level.
Samuel spoke with a kind smile.
“Please remember the strength of the spell. This time, I’m going to use Incantation magic to strengthen it. By using the will contained in the words, the mage’s mental gets stronger.”
Samuel recited a poem consisting of eight phrases.
“Earth of furor, I borrow thy power, so touch my hand. Looking down at the sky, the history of achievement, be captured in a moment. When the power of inanity is in the hands…”
The faces of the students got painted with boredom as they felt like they were now in a literature class.
Though not long after, Samuel spoke, holding his hands up again.
As the tornado burst out with a tremendous explosion, the students couldn’t help but hold their breath.
The wind was so condensed that Samuel’s figure looked hazy.
“This is the power of Incantation. Words have a will of their own, and when savored, it strengthens the mind. Speak and ruminate. That is the basic system of Incantation magic.”
As the frozen-stilled students let out a breath, Samuel spoke with a smile.
“Now… let’s get down to business.